Clean a Washing Machine

Young boy (4-6) looking inside washing machine, father in background
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We throw our dirtiest loads of laundry into the washing machine and expect that they'll come out clean and smell fresh. But how do we keep our washing machines clean and smelling fresh?

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Exterior

    Washing machines are often made of baked-on enamel. The best solution is a cleaning cloth with a mild all-purpose cleaner or dish soap. Gently wipe down the exterior surface of the washing machine. You may find that lint and drizzled laundry soap have formed thick sticky spots on the washing machine. A little warm water and a cleaning rag are usually enough to get the area cleaned. For corners and edges, try cleaning with a cotton swab.


  1. Interior

    Wiping up detergent spills right as they happen. If you wait, the spill is likely to turn into something much more difficult to clean. If something was washed that has left a solid residue in the washing machine, retrieve all the pieces and wipe down the interior of the washing machine with a cleaning cloth.


  2. Preventing or Removing Smells

    To prevent a smelly washing machine, leave the lid open on the washing machine when a load is removed to allow it time to dry out. If smells do happen, try washing an empty load with hot water and a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. For front loading washing machines, it is vital that you leave the washing machine door open in between loads. You will also need to wipe down the rubber seal of the washing machine. Small bits of debris and hair can become trapped in the crevices. Giving your machine a quick wipe down after each use will prevent smells and mildew.



    1. Hard Water Issues

      If you experience limescale buildup from hard water, water softeners added to your laundry detergent may be a workable solution.

    What You Need:

    • Mild detergent
    • Cleaning cloths
    • Vinegar
    • Baking soda
    • Water Softener (optional)